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Jackson County disputes missed Oregon Health Authority benchmark

Newly released Oregon Health Authority data shows Jackson County missed one of six public health indicators for monitoring the coronavirus, but Jackson County Health and Human Services says the missed mark is “super misleading” and stems from a data-entry error.

OHA released county data earlier this week that the state agency says it’s using to monitor a county’s ability to respond to COVID-19, such as the ability to track new infections, number of hospitalizations and the number of cases not traced to a confirmed case.

It’s that latter metric, that OHA data shows Jackson County fell short. The state wants “new cases not traced to a known source” over the past week to be below 30%, but Jackson County showed 100% of new cases fell into that category between May 11 and May 17.

Jackson County Health & Human Services spokeswoman Tanya Phillips says there was only one case that week, and the case was entered into the state database incorrectly as a case of unknown transmission.

“We do know where that person contracted (the virus), so that is known,” Phillips said.

Jackson County met all other parameters, with emergency department visits for COVID-like symptoms below 1.5%, no increases in positive COVID-19 tests, no increases in COVID-19 hospital admissions and follow-up on all cases within 24 hours on at least 95% of cases over the last seven days.

Phillips said the state numbers lack context.

“It’s super misleading in my opinion because people don’t have that context,” Phillips said. “It really doesn’t provide the numbers that we’re looking at.”

Reach reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or nmorgan@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter@MTCrimeBeat.

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